Well sir, you have managed to push my memory button

    I am pleased so much effort has be made to retain a history many Baltimoreians have never seen or witnessed.

    I was born in Baltimore in 1930 and rode the streetcars (and trackless trolleys) many times. My family owned a brick home facing St. Paul Street -- 2019 to be exact -- my bedroom was on the second floor overlooking the street -- I still remember quite well the four streetcar lines that ran up and down St. Paul -- I believe they were the 1, 17, 29, and 11.

    Unfortunately, our home was one block short of the mile the school system set which would have allowed me to be picked up by their bus, therefore I had to walk all the way up to 26th Street to attend the Margaret Brent Elementary School -- in very bad weather, my mother would give me the nickel needed to ride the streetcar -- this was in 1936 -- I could lay in bed and tell what the weather was like before I got up -- squeaks and noise of the wheels hitting the rails told me it was clear -- when there was no noise, it was wet and rainy -- when I heard arcing, but no wheel sounds, I knew it had snowed and the overhead wires had ice -- another clue to the snow was when I heard the streetcar snow sweeper pass by -- and finally, if the bell on the streetcar rang excessively during school days, I knew there was a lot of traffic and I was late for school.

    I always hesitated when I had to ride the #1 -- that was the one that left the road level and traveled on a section that was elevated (I believe that was on Barkley Street, after Mt. Royal Street) -- looking down from the windows scared the pee out of me, because there wasn't anything there !!!

    On rare occasions, I was allowed to ride one of the cars to the end of the line and help the motorman flip the seats for the return trip -- I don't remember seeing any of the new PCC cars on these lines, so the old wooden ones were normal -- I also vaguely remember some had a trailer.

    One Saturday afternoon, I was standing on the corner of St. Paul and 20th Streets, when a streetcar was coming down the road -- looking up the slight hill on 20th Street, a garbage truck was beeping his horn wildly, heading towards St. Paul -- BANG !!! the truck struck the streetcar's side just front of where the seats start, and wiped the whole front end off, including the motorman -- I don't remember what happened to the truck driver or the motorman, but it caused a little excitement -- although not related to streetcars, I had to ride the trackless trolleys down Howard Street to Lexington to shop at Hutzlers or Stewarts -- the trolley poles would stretch way out over the street when it pulled to the curb -- and finally, still related to transportation, I rode the double decker buses down Charles Street on the "A" bus -- the first time I climbed the steps to the upper deck, I couldn't understand why there wasn't a driver up front -- later, riding in the front seat on the upper deck was fun, until it came to the hill beside the Washington Monument -- I grabbed the handles of the seat because I was totally convinced that the bus would topple over !!!

    Well sir, you have managed to push my memory button -- I trust I didn't bore you -- Bill Ferkler

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